I know CBS has been dismayed that its newscast is in third place. Do you want to know why, CBS News? It’s for decisions like this: tonight, when I tuned in to the CBS News, the lead story was the John Edwards affair. The lead on ABC news was the death of an American tourist in Beijing, which they covered briefly by including the president’s statement. Then they moved to the Georgian/Russian conflict. While they were talking about that, CBS was still going in-depth on the Edwards bit. ABC next covered a minor earthquake in Sizchaun province in China, before finally shooting back to a reporter in the U.S. to replay a bit of the Edwards interview, which was, by the way, an ABC interview.
There’s a war going on in Georgia! Why would you not start with that? I’ll excuse ABC for what they started with, because they’re reporting live from Beijing, and the opening-day murder of an American linked closely to the Olympic teams seems pretty newsworthy. But I’m not about to forgive CBS. When you, as a news director, have a choice between gossip and war, go with war. Didn’t we learn that somewhere? Like News School?
Finally, while I’m picking on CBS, what was the thought behind doing a two-minute piece on how safe Baghdad is now where reporter Elizabeth Palmer strolled through a “now safe” park wearing a bulletproof vest?
So maybe the problem isn’t Katie Couric, at CBS News. Maybe it’s whoever’s making the news decisions… hey, wait, isn’t she a managing editor over there? Indeed. Someone needs to mind the weekend store, methinks.
(NBC gets a pass tonight, because they were on half-an-hour earlier, due to Olympic coverage).